In 1856 the Ole Madsen family set sail from their native Denmark seeking an American Zion, answering the call of early leaders of their newfound religion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Once docked in New York City, they still stood two thirds of a continent from their dreams. They traversed 1,300 miles of that land pulling a handcart packed with their meager belongings, assigned to the Willie Company, one of ten such pioneer companies that made the trek from the Midwest to Utah Territory on foot. An already difficult task took a harrowing turn for the worse when food rations ran out and harsh winter storms descended while they were still hundreds of miles from their objective. As the family lay huddled together on the crest of Wyoming's Rocky Ridge, freezing to death, they learned the true meaning of faith, sacrifice and family.
Their story echoes across the expanse of time as descendent Mike Ericksen and his family search for these ancestors. As Ericksen flips through pages of aged documents and pores over family trees online, he discovers truths that leave him in awe. He learns of his great-grandmother Marie’s struggles and finds a consoling connection to her by telling her powerful story through music. Through it all he comes to understand the powerful ripple effect of everyday decisions and the significance of being true heroes.
Mike Ericksen has previously chronicled the amazing story of his family’s roots through song and speaking engagements at LDS firesides across the country. Now the engrossing stories of his ancestors and the lessons he’s learned in pursuit of their legacy are finally available in Upon Destiny’s Song.
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